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I have got a reasonbly basic desktop microphone, however for reasons that I don't understand it is extremley quiet. I dual boot, both systems run Windows 7, one system is working just fine although the other system, after I restarted the computer a couple of weeks ago, the microphone is now far too quiet.

I've been through the Sound control panel. The correct microphone is selected as the default communication device. The microphone level is set to 100. The microphone is plugged into a sound card, so I uninstalled the audio card (an Asus D1) driver and reinstalled it which made no difference. If I tap the microphone, it does register 5 or 6 green bars in the recording volume monitor. So, does anybody have any suggestions on where to look next?

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Does your sound driver have a "Mic Boost" option of some sort? Are you sure it comes up as a microphone and not line-in (because that card shares its input for both)? – slhck Jul 14 '12 at 12:44
@slhck. Yes there is a Mic Boost option, but that has never been enabled on either system, nor should it be required. Yes, it is definitely microphone. As I say, it worked fine until a couple of weeks ago and the other system is still working fine, so it's not a hardware issue. – R4D4 Jul 14 '12 at 12:47
Boost the mic level and then see if that helps. Don't presume to say that it should or shouldn't be required, without first testing it. – user3463 Jul 14 '12 at 20:00
There is no presumption, it should not be required. The microphone is good enough to not require an artificial increase in amplitude through software. As for testing, I'd say it working fine a couple of weeks ago without microphone boost is a fairly solid test. ;) However, for the sake of a button press I have enabled it which gave no success. – R4D4 Jul 15 '12 at 18:14
Recently I have answered with somewhat similar issue of yours. You can also try with those steps. Microphone fault after installing windows 7 on my Toshiba Satellite Pro Hope it helps. – ahmed Jul 19 '12 at 9:34

This is a real problem, even in latest Windows 8.1. I see it with my (relatively nice!) Sennheiser PC 360 headset also. To get even decent volume from the microphone I have to set absolute max level and boost:

microphone properties - boost and levels - analog

Anything under that is just way too low. Even 90 or +20 db is too low, can barely hear the mic with those settings. And the max boost means I hear background noise in the audio now too.

However, if I plug in a USB headset / mic, I don't have this problem -- microphone level can be set around 50 and is plenty loud.

So I think, sadly, the "solution" might be to avoid analog headsets. Depressing since mine is extra fancy!

Edit: I converted my analog Sennheiser headset/mic combo to digital using the Turtle Beach Amigo II and now I only have to set the levels to around 50-65 to get decent input:

microphone properties, levels - usb

So that seems like a fix, to skip the analog paths altogether. I suspect it is this headset, but I don't have any other analog headsets to test.

(One thing I have yet to try is putting in a PCI sound card but that seems like a lot of work just to get decent volume from an analog headset. It could also vary per motherboard and built in audio solution, but my motherboard is latest/greatest Haswell midrange model from reputable vendor, not el cheapo or anything.)

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It may be an issue with Windows 7s inbuilt feature in the operating system to reduce the volume for a phone call or other VOIP applications. Follow the below instruction to see if this is the cause of the problem.

Windows 7 help for resolving volume issue

Click on Start, then click on Control panel and then on Sound. A sound window will appear. Windows 7 help advises that you select Small icons from the drop down list of view by so that you will see the Sound option in control panel.

Now, click on the Communication tab in the sound window.

sound - communications - when windows detects communication activity

You will see four options- Mute all other sounds, Reduce the Volume of other sounds by 80 %, Reduce the volume of other sounds by 50% and Do nothing. You need to click on the radio button next to Do nothing. Click on Apply and then OK. You might need to restart the computer to implement the changes.

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No, that's not the issue - the microphone sound is low even when not using any communication software. – R4D4 Jul 19 '12 at 18:55
maybe the connection is messed up. Have you tried plugging it in all the way and then pulling it out just a little. – Linger Jul 19 '12 at 18:57
Possible, but the second line of the first paragraph of the question kind of puts that to rest... So no I haven't. – R4D4 Jul 19 '12 at 19:01
this is a good answer but a different issue – Jeff Atwood Jan 17 '14 at 6:53

Actually I had skype microphone set to low. Skype tends to automatically change microphone volume and for me it worked when I took automatic microphone volume setting off and set the volume up higher. people actually hear me now :D

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I was having this issue and managed to solve it by simply changing where I had my mic plugged into. At first I had my mic plugged into my front panel audio which is plugged into my sound card. When I plugged my mic into the sound card directly the volume was much better. This may not be the issue you are having, but it is definitely worth testing.

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I removed "enable studio enhancements" and increased my mic boost and it fixed the problem for me. I can now hear any amount of wind going into the microphone in my audio, but other people can hear me on skype. Definately not a solution for any kind of quality recording or skype interviews, but for casual use, I guess my computer mic is just very cheap.

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I had the problem with my default microphone. I am using Windows 10. I got it fixed by windows search -> "find and fix audio playback problems" -> "Next" -> "Apply fix"

(the fix said something: make it the default device. though I tried it before through settings)

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  1. Rightclick the notification area's Volume Control.
  2. Choose "Recording Devices".
  3. See which mic volume animates when speaking into the mic. Make it the default mic.
  4. Adjust the level in its Properties window if needed.
  5. Try your mic app again. Also make sure to set the volume there.

If both systems of the dual boot have the same settings and software, check your registry. If that doesn't help, maybe it's a hardware issue after all; it could be a random wire connectivity issue or like Kendrick said in the comments, it might be connected via Line-in by mistake.

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Please read the question and comments and you'll find this offers no help at all. – R4D4 Jul 19 '12 at 15:07
R4D4, your question does not mention what's different. How do you determine whether it's too soft? – Cees Timmerman Jul 19 '12 at 15:17
Well, for starters audio recording applications no longer measure any sort of meaninful amplitude and people are struggling to hear me on things like Skype. It isn't a hardware issue as the second system is working fine. – R4D4 Jul 19 '12 at 18:52
many systems now have front & back mike inputs which have their own volume and boost settings. audacity does have a visible audio graph. Also see if adding/removing audio effects makes a difference. I had a mini-ITX that wouldent process sound right unless you had it set to concert hall for audio effects. You can also try different newer/older versions of the driver. I have seen some systems only work right with a much older driver. also some HW combinations cause issues. Line in wont boost like mike so make sure it is mike some cards are hard to read. – Kendrick Jul 22 '12 at 4:31

In some cases like your issue, the analogue microphones needs to be amplified by a microphone preamplifier as some computer's mic inputs does not give enough voltage to the microphone. Microphone preamplifiers are small devices to which you connect your mic and then you connect it to mic input of your PC or Laptop. you can find plenty of mic preamps in the musical instruments stores or online with reasonable prices. The same issue sometimes happens for headphones. There are numerous headphone amplifiers too. Before buying, make sure that the issue is from a weak signal to your mic or there is weak signals to your headphones. If you listen to music from your computer by your headphones without any problem, you may just need a preamp for the microphone.

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How does one determine if they need an amplifier exactly? – Ramhound Jun 17 '15 at 13:36

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